Mind Games

by The Ramblings of a Menopausal Runner, with Hilary Jones Friday, April 18 2014

They say psychology has a lot to do with your running success ....or failure.  I think in my case this definitely has some merit, for instance, looking back at my inability to complete a 10k run without involving any walking.  Hopefully that issue has now been resolved since I managed to complete my last two 10k events without walking.  I am (quietly) confident my next 10k event, the BUPA London 10000, in 6 weeks time will pass off without incident – fingers crossed it’ll be fourth time lucky on this particular course. 

But although I seem to go to each organised run thinking “I’m not going to walk this time”, almost predictably I end up walking.  It’s like I subconsciously can’t wait to fail!  Do I relish the thought of regaling people with how “it went fine until ....”?  Am I seeking sympathy?  (Or is it really just as simple as knowing that if I succeed in my goals, I will have to set new ones and they will be harder?!)

Collage Kent’s Alex Welch and I had a conversation last week about the “seduction of inadequacy”, a phrase we had come across in another blog, Burn Bright, and we got around to discussing our own seductions of inadequacy.  Mine centred on my running (although I’m pretty sure there are plenty more areas in my life where this could apply!).  In particular how I more or less seem to set myself up inevitably to fail by giving myself too many goals and providing plenty of opportunities to do so.  Take, for instance, last week’s half marathon.  I had three goals – to get a PB; to be quicker than last time I did this specific run; and not to walk.  Failed on all three!  Was I seduced into setting three goals so that on some level, I knew I would fail and thereby show myself to be inadequate?

Anyway, by the end of our conversation, I had agreed to set myself only one goal for my next half marathon.  To get a PB.  Now that in itself is a tall order but perhaps if I can concentrate on that one goal, I might put less pressure on myself - I might then even succeed in achieving the other two!  See, I’m doing it again!!

Turning to parkrun, the week before last Shorne Woods returned to using Course A.  This route has not been used since last November thanks to the mud fest on the back of the course.  Course A involves two 2k laps followed by a 1k lap.  Course B involves three equal laps.  But both courses measure 5k. 

So our first 2014 outing on Course A produced what?  My second best ever parkrun time, missing my PB by 8 seconds (and yes that too was achieved on Course A).  This weekend I got a new PB and believe me I am very happy about that but why do I run faster on Course A than on Course B?  It’s exactly the same distance and therefore level of difficulty!  Purely psychological?  It must be all in my head!

So just two examples of how my brain influences my running!  I’m now off to find a book on positive thinking!

Anyone wishing to read more of the “Seduction of Inadequacy” post can find the link here

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Categories: Running


by The Ramblings of a Menopausal Runner, with Hilary Jones Friday, April 4 2014

Here's a piece I wrote for inclusion in last week's Shorne Woods parkrun anniversary run report together with a (probably very out of proportion) picture of the celebratory birthday cake made by another parkrunner. Apparently we get to enjoy a slice at tomorrow's run - presumably post event!

My parkrun experience

Thirteen months ago I noticed my Twitter feed on a Saturday was littered with references to parkrun.  When I researched further I thought it sounded good but it appeared the closest parkrun was Bexley which seemed a bit far for regular attendance.  Oh well, I thought and forgot all about it until the start of the summer when I came across a couple more references to parkrun in magazines.

I went back to the website only to find there was now an event at Shorne Woods – only two miles down the road, excellent.  It then took another month for me to pluck up the courage to attend my first run and the rest, as they say, is history.  I can honestly say that the only weekends I’ve missed have been down to other commitments, nothing to do with not wanting to get out of bed on a Saturday morning.  Although credit where it’s due, Chase the Place and Jantastic have been huge motivational forces. 

I’ll admit there have been weeks when I’ve gone with the attitude that it’ll just be a “recovery” jog, I’ll take my time, just get around but then something seems to take over and it’s often these weekends when I do my better runs.  Is it the presence of other runners dragging me around with them in a runners’ vortex, often supporting with constructive comments or just pure encouragement?  Whatever, something works!

Perhaps even more surprising has been the reaction from acquaintances be it friends, family or clients.  Since August I have managed to put off any work commitments until after I’ve had time to do parkrun but recently I was asked the dreaded question, could I meet a potential new client at 9am on a Saturday!!! 

Oh no, the time had finally come and my head eventually overruled my heart.  I said yes.  Now my head may have been sensible but what amazed me more were other people’s reactions.  All those I mentioned it to said I should either say no, I wasn’t available; put her off until later in the day or bring her along (give me time!).  Obviously the way I have been raving about how great parkrun is must have been sinking into other’s psyches!

So far I’ve only managed to get one other runner to come along but I shall keep persevering.  I often see other runners out and about when I’m en route to Shorne and I want to stop and say “come with me”.  Perhaps I should resort to kidnap!

My only regret?  I wish I’d first looked at the website a month later and seen the Shorne Woods event sooner J

Happy Anniversary Shorne Woods parkrun J

If anyone is even slightly interested in getting involved with this wonderful phenomena I would seriously urge you to give it a go, you have nothing to lose.  You dont have to be an elite runner, you dont even have to be a runner.  There are events taking place all over Kent, not just Shorne Woods, and details can be found at - so go on, what's stopping you!?

Categories: Running

I Need A Pacer!

by The Ramblings of a Menopausal Runner, with Hilary Jones Thursday, April 3 2014

So the dust has settled and I’ve had time to reflect on Sunday’s Paddock Wood half marathon.  If somebody had told me on Saturday what my time was going to be and how the run was going to evolve, I’d have wondered why I was bothering to turn up.  Today I’m more philosophical about it.  And to be honest I wasn’t even that disappointed Sunday afternoon.  I knew what had gone wrong - my continuing struggle with learning to pace myself.

I was going to Google “pacing” to see what came up but Runners World was reading my mind and very helpfully posted the following definition a few days ago:-

“Pacing is a science: start off too fast and you’ll burn glycogen at a higher rate than your body can handle, leaving you struggling for energy at the stage where you need it most” – how true!  It then continued “Start off too slow and that target time will just keep disappearing away as the race progresses.”  Yes, but I think that’s what I need to do, start off a little slower!

Back to Sunday.  I won’t bore you with too much detail, suffice it to say, the first few miles seemed to me to be run at a relatively relaxed pace.  No need to try and dash past other runners; there was plenty of space and even the “hill of note” at 1.25 miles didn’t prove too much of a problem.  However, my Garmin was giving me warning signs which I chose to ignore.  First mile, just under 9 minutes, and the following two miles a bit quicker.  By the time I got to six miles, there was a point where this fleeting thought flashed across my mind.  If this carries on I could get a PB and even get in a sub 2 hours.  My mind imagined the glory of telling everyone my achievements even though I have been here many times before!

And guess what, about half a mile later, at the half way point, I started to struggle.  In fact, I told myself, “Get to the seven mile marker and you can have a little 30 second walk”.  The plan was then to do a “little walk” at the start of each mile and then run to the next mile marker.  This didn’t happen.  It seemed at one point that there was a bit more walking than running and when I got to “the railway bridge”, my reaction was “No way!”  I did though get a bit of a second wind towards the end.  Also, much needed moral support from runner number 787 who encouraged me to run with him from time to time.  We met up again on the outskirts of Paddock Wood less than a mile from the finish and this time it was my turn to say, “Let’s get to that marshal and then run to the finish line.”  Although I think that was more for my benefit than his!  But we did J

I seriously thought my regular running with parkrun had got me out of the bad habit of going off too fast.  I also thought running with other people had calmed me down.  I thought wrong!

As far as the run as a whole goes, it was very well organised and the support from marshals and bystanders outstanding.  The scenery was mostly rural and idyllic although there does come a point where you think, “Oh god, not another blinking oast house”!  During the run, obviously after the half-way point, I thought “I’m not doing this again” but by the end of the day it was more “I’m definitely doing this again, if only to prove I can do better.”

So I didn’t achieve either of my goals on Sunday – to run a half marathon with no walking and to beat my previous Paddock Wood time.  But on a positive note, if I can repeat the first half of Sunday’s performance at my next three runs (BUPA London 10000, City of London Mile and the Anniversary Run – 5 miles) I shall be a very happy bunny.  And then perhaps I can aim to do better at the Royal Parks Half in October.   I can but live in hope!

I got two running medals this weekend.  This is the Shorne Woods parkrun female annual points competition second place medal (wow, that's a mouthful).  This is the one I'm most proud of :-) 

And can someone please teach me how to edit photo sizes!!!!


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Categories: Running

Pre-Race Jitters

by The Ramblings of a Menopausal Runner, with Hilary Jones Wednesday, March 26 2014

Way back in October this seemed like a good idea – Paddock Wood, a not too taxing half marathon to test my running recovery.  Now, with three days to go, not quite such a good idea!  Why do I do this to myself?  (I wonder if Mo ever feels like this!)

The pre-race nerves have started!  I’m distracted and can’t seem to settle to anything.  The sooner Monday comes around, the better!  It’s not like I’m under any expectations to win.  I’ll just be one of 2750 runners taking part but like a lot of runners I want to do “better than last time”.  And pressure’s supposed to be good for you, right?!

Perhaps I should have checked the diary first and not made matters worse by entering a run which just happens to be the weekend when the clocks go forward and we lose an hour’s sleep.  As if I was going to get a good night’s sleep anyway, terrified for some reason I’ll sleep through three alarms – in case we have a power cut overnight or the batteries run out if you were wondering!

My race pack has arrived safely and my “in case of emergency” details completed.  Also safety pins have been located; outfit (?!) selected and nicely laid out in a heap; left and right socks identified; regular hourly checks of all three weather apps on my phone taking place - and all possible weather scenarios have been forecast for Sunday over the last week!   And my pre, post and mid race energy supplies assembled and tested.  Indeed, more jelly babies have had to be purchased – the initial pack was just a trial to make sure they were satisfactory.  Yes, okay, I finished them off and had to buy more!!  And this time the pack remains sealed until Sunday morning! J

So why do I feel so ill prepared and why am I having this confidence crisis?  I did most of “the distance” the week before last (I knew a half marathon was 13.1 miles, I just hadn’t realised this also equated to 21 point something kilometres and I missed out the point something kilometres).  And the only time I walked was for about 15 seconds when I saw a funeral cortege coming towards me and it felt like the appropriate thing to do.

I have afterall done more training for this than probably any other run, even marathons (that makes it sound like I do marathons all the time – wrong, it’s just that I’ve done more than one – okay, two but that still makes it plural).  And I have to be honest, all this earnest training is probably down to the jantastic “effect” otherwise known as the “making me do it” technique!

One of my concerns probably relates to a little niggle in my right leg/knee area which made its presence felt at the end of last week.   I’m hoping it’s down to overtraining.  The weird thing is it hasn’t stopped me being able to run (yet), it’s more of a problem when I’m standing around.  Anyway, I cut back on distance last week and lots of icing, elevation (or watching the television upside down with my leg in the air) and massaging has taken place.  Fingers are crossed, though obviously not while massaging – that would be silly!


Tomorrow is my last “training” run, just a 5k to keep the legs moving and hopefully not aggravating the niggle.  And then two days in which to keep myself calm, very busy and eat lots of pasta and drink lots of water.  I’ll see you on the other side J

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Categories: Running

The Railway Bridge

by The Ramblings of a Menopausal Runner, with Hilary Jones Monday, March 10 2014

Just under three weeks until the Paddock Wood Half Marathon or to put it another way, three weeks and it’ll all be over!  My first half marathon in two years, the last one being Paddock Wood, a “preparation race” for London where it all started to go horribly wrong.  That’s not strictly true, it started to go horribly wrong long before then.  My marathon training in 2012 consisted of various struggles and a longest run of 9 miles.  Believe me, splitting a marathon into “5 mile chunks and a little bit at the end” doesn’t work, it might on paper but it doesn’t in body.   I was probably also working with an “I’ve done it before, I can do it again” mentality.  That doesn’t work either.  Anybody contemplating a marathon, one piece of advice - respect the distance!

Anyway, I digress!  Paddock Wood, described by the race website as “mostly rural and very flat, with only one hill of note at 1.25 miles. Most other slopes are railway bridges”.   And even though the elevation plan bears this out, the reality is slightly different.  Because of the scale of the elevation plan, that first hill looks fairly ominous, from memory it wasn’t quite that bad (I may live to regret that statement).  It’s “the railway bridge” between miles 10 and 11 that’s the killer and was my undoing last time.  It was at this point that I gave in and began a walk/run effort.  It had such a traumatic effect that the bridge still lives in my memory.

I’ve been trying to tell myself that I’m a lot fitter this time than last and Jantastic has been inspirational in my training – don’t think I would have managed quite so well without it!  And parkrun has played a big part too in getting me used to running with other people.  Hopefully this time I won’t go hell for leather at the start, trying to overtake everything that moves.  So all I need to do when I get to this particular slope (!?) is put my head down, pump those arms and go for it, remembering the gentle decline towards the finish line once I get to the top. 

That’s what’s going on in my head anyway.  Then last week I bumped into a running acquaintance I haven’t seen for nearly two years, he who is a marathon veteran.  We were catching up, as you do, and when I told him about Paddock Wood, his response was “oh yeah, flat until you get to the railway bridge” – aaaarghh! 

So this week see’s my last attempt at a “long” distance.  Last week I managed 17k reasonably successfully, no walking anyway and I was still alive at the end.  I even contemplated continuing to try and do the full distance, but not for long.  This week Jantastic says I have to do 18k, actually Jantastic doesn’t say, I committed to 18k.  The plan is to go out tomorrow armed with jelly beans and water - I swear it was the jelly beans that got me through last week although I probably should  have waited until a bit further than 4k before starting on them. 

Then the next two taper weeks are going to be concentrating on hills, basically running up and down them again and again and this time I’m gonna conquer that b@#”r!! 


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Categories: Running

Roll on The Taper!

by The Ramblings of a Menopausal Runner, with Hilary Jones Tuesday, February 25 2014

It can’t come quick enough.   For those non runners amongst any readers, a taper is not a candle (although yes, technically it is).  In running parlance, it’s the two/three weeks before a big run when you can start to cut back on your distance running in order to preserve your legs and avoid injury or as I once saw it described “an opportunity for the mind and legs to rest, recover and prepare”.

Yes, I know it’s just the lull before the storm but I’m looking forward to missing out the long run, or just the fact that the long run becomes a short run (in comparison).

 In theory I have only three more weeks of trying to push myself closer to that 21k mark.  And then I can cut back to 5/6k runs.  I’m aiming to get as close to 19k as I can during “training” and then rely on sheer willpower to get me across the finish line on the day.  I seem to recall the last few kilometres of Paddock Wood are through a residential area so perhaps I can focus on the nice houses and front gardens and hope that distracts me (or was that a different race!?).

Yesterday I tried to do my long run, my Jantastic target this week is 16.5k.  I try to get it out of the way as soon as possible because then I know it’s done and dusted, and yesterday the elements seemed to be in my favour - opportunity and weather all looking good.  But, guess what, too hot!  It’s not the end of February yet and I’m already complaining that it’s too hot.  Heaven help me come July/August. 

I started off with good intentions, had my route in mind but I veered off that route after 6k to avoid running up “Tollgate Hill” which I thought would beat me.  So I went off down another reasonably flat road (Wrotham Road) albeit knowing that if you go down, at some point you have to go up.  I was just banking on the going up (Singlewell Road) not being quite as steep as the going up being avoided. 

I’m not too sure what happened but at 8.5k I gave up.  I’m putting this down to one of four things.

Possible dehydration - I’d not drunk much in the previous 18 hours and I hadn’t taken any water with me despite knowing I was going to be out for some time. 

The “heat” - I had decided to be brave and on departure had only adorned two layers as opposed to the current usual of three but I had to shed one of those layers part way around and my naked arms were exposed to daylight for the first time this year.  When I say that I don’t mean my arms haven’t seen daylight so far this year, they just haven’t seen outside daylight.   Phew, that would be a bit smelly! 

Lack of music - I usually use music to distract me when running on my own but Paddock Wood is a no music zone and I decided I’d better get in practice running longer distances in relative silence.  

And then finally possibly the real culprit – my attitude!!!

Yes, I have been dreading this run all weekend even though it was only an extra 1500m up on last week’s long run and I managed that okay.   I even tried telling myself, “16.5k – that’s three parkruns and a little bit”.  I knew it had to be done and have literally spent hours thinking of all the different routes I could do to get to the target – and even then I didn’t follow any of the routes I’d dreamed up! 

At the end of the day, I knew it was going to be tough, so it was tough and therefore I gave up and failed.  No amount of motivational runners’ quotes was going to save me yesterday.  So now the distance is still hanging over me and I have 4 days left in which to try again.  I think next time I’ll have to go for an out and back route, no “if I just go around this bit and then back along that bit” tactics.  I might have to run out to Higham and back (that was the original route).  From memory that’s about the right distance although a bit undulating.  But at least I can admire the views of the Thames and Essex en route and try to work out whether those things I can see on the horizon from my bedroom window are derricks or something altogether more sinister!



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Categories: Running

The Ultimate Cool Down Run

by The Ramblings of a Menopausal Runner, with Hilary Jones Wednesday, February 12 2014

So yesterday’s run ended up being extended just a little bit further than I had planned.  I wasn’t intending to go far, just 5k, weather and clients permitted no more.  It seemed the brief break in the weather didn’t just encourage me outside, there were lots of runners making the most of a dry if breezy spell.   Had they, like me, had one eye on the weather and the forecast for most of the day and were out making the most of it?

From indoors the wind looked a bit nippy so I layered up, donned my gloves and out I went.  Nothing out of the ordinary happened and I did my run.  But just as I approached home, I realised something was missing!  Oh no, my running gloves, where had they gone?  I’d had to dispense with their services mid-run and had zipped them up safely in my jacket pocket along with my front door key.  Or so I thought!  But somewhere en route the little blighters had jumped ship and gone AWOL.  All other conceivable pockets and orifices were checked (twice) but no sign.  They had gone, dear reader, gone! 

Decision time!  Did I turn back to try to find them, they weren’t exactly expensive but would I be passing a Sweatshop before I next needed some hand protection?  And indeed, would they have any left in stock, would they now be full to the gills of summer running gear?

I swallowed my pride and went off down my front path again and back along the route I’d just taken.  It had to be a bit more than a run/walk effort too, I had to save face.  I couldn’t risk anyone who had just seen me running in one direction, then see me walking back in reverse, that would look like failure on an epic scale.   And then could I try to save a bit of time, could I really stop and ask passing strangers if they’d noticed a pair of neon pink gloves on their travels (the passing strangers’ travels, not the gloves)?  Yes, neon pink - just in case I get caught in a snow drift whilst out running – as if!!

So anyway, off I trot and it was a bit of a surprise to find I had a second wind, there was a bit more running than I’d anticipated – perhaps I should try a warm up in future, I don’t usually.  I’d banked on the fact that my run had been fairly flat and fairly straight, I was expecting to spot the gloves a mile off – and I did, eventually!

I know how it happened.  My jacket has a front pocket and the zip runs parallel to the main opening zip.   I got a bit hot at one point (no, not a hot flush, just down to energy expenditure) and undid the front of my jacket to cool off.  I obviously opened the wrong zip and that must have been when they made their bid for freedom.  But I couldn’t remember if that was before or after passing the man and his dog, or before or after the half way point so I had no reference point! 


Oh well, they have been retrieved unharmed to run another day and it could have been worse, it could have been my front door key that escaped.  That would have been an awful lot harder to find.  And just in case, I’m now investing in a length of elastic to attach said gloves to the cuffs of my running jacket!

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Categories: Running

A Shaggy Dog Story (sorry, lost for title inspiration!)

by The Ramblings of a Menopausal Runner, with Hilary Jones Wednesday, February 5 2014

As I look out of my window, it’s not a nice view – heavy rain and blustery winds – but I wont complain because I know a lot of other places around the country are having it an awful lot worse.   This morning I even saw cottages in Sole Street with sandbags out front.  Perhaps it just seems worse because of the last few days of sunshine. 

On Sunday I went for a run around the A2 activity park and was absolutely amazed by the number of people out using the facilities.  And I mean the park itself, not the Cyclopark – although that’s obviously a big success.  I’m not sure whether this vast turnout was due to the weather or if it was because I usually run through the park during the week when it’s very quiet other than the odd dog walker.   But it was great to see so many people outside and getting active – I can’t think of a better use for a former A road! 

I am lucky with my running surroundings.  When I first started I used to keep to “urban” areas, running around the Gravesend streets, dodging in and out of traffic, in the belief that would be safer than more isolated areas.  But now I’ve got a bit braver and not only do I have Shorne Woods a couple of miles away, the activity park is literally across the road and Jeskyns Park is just a short jog up a very steep hill!! 

I noticed when driving past said Park this morning that the new cafe is now open so time for a quick caffeine shot on my next venture inside.  It’s probably two years since I last ran through Jeskyns but now I’ve found my running legs again I’m looking forward to getting back out there – although I might leave it a few weeks until (hopefully) the rain has stopped and the ground has dried out.  Although I could keep to the paths, I do like to go “off piste” occasionally!  And it’ll be good to see if any new structures have appeared and whether the alpacas are still in evidence.

I understand Radio Kent had a phone in recently regarding a bit of a debacle about dog owners keeping their animals on leads when using Jeskyns.  I have to say that in my experience both in Jeskyns and the activity park, the vast majority of dog owners are very respectful of runners and walkers and will always either reattach their dogs’ leads or at the very least call them to heel and keep them under control until I have passed.  And I always try to engage with any upcoming dogs by smiling at them inanely in the vane hope that will prevent me feeling a sharp pain in one of my calves or if they’re a big dog, my gluteus maximus!  It’s worked so far but maybe that’s just my inane smiling making them feel a bit uneasy and they are really cowering, waiting for me to hurry passed.


But then again, perhaps the debacle is more geared towards dog on dog action!  And you can interpret that anyway you wish!

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Categories: Running

I Blame Jantastic!

by The Ramblings of a Menopausal Runner, with Hilary Jones Tuesday, January 28 2014

At this point in time I should probably be dancing around the room singing along to Pharrell Williams “Happy”.  Instead I’m wondering how long before I can conceivably retire for the day or at least have a sneaky lie down!  Thank goodness I don’t have any clients tonight, they’d probably find me draped across a treadmill. 

And the reason – my lunchtime 11k run in 62’ 30” with NO walking, not even up “Tollgate Hill”.  I felt fine when I got home but after a hot shower and with the muscle glycogen stores replenished (otherwise known as lunch), I’m beginning to feel a tad weary!  Still, I did it, my long run for the week done and dusted and a certain amount of pressure off.  After my 10k last week and with time running out, I knew I had to start pushing the boundaries - 10k after all is a long way off 21k but now I’m passed the half way mark and hopefully this psychological boost will spur me on to greater things over the coming weeks.

To be honest, it has to and I’m hoping Jantastic will continue to inspire me, that and the fear of letting down my Shorne Woods team if I don’t achieve my goals.  This first month I had committed to four runs a week and after a dodgy start, it’s gone quite well, even if the fourth run has only been achieved on the Sunday!  During February we have to set new goals and although I haven’t increased the number of weekly runs, I have committed to extending my “long” run each week.  So next week is 12k and by the end of February I should have done 15k which brings me a little closer to 21k. 

I am wondering though what will happen after Jantastic finishes at the end of March – can I put out a plea for another motivational web based scheme?  Something with “Spring” in the title would do – any suggestions?  And any offers to run it (sorry for the pun)!

And February doesn’t just bring with it a new month of running goals, it also signifies the end of “dry January” (four days and counting!).  How convenient that 1 February is a Saturday.  I’m not of course planning to get plastered on Saturday night – to be honest after a Wagamama’s Root Juice yesterday, I’m a bit worried about how one glass of wine will affect me.  Who knew beetroot could be so intoxicating - after one glass, I felt like I’d been drinking!  They say it’s good for athletic performance (not that I’m calling myself an athlete) but I can easily imagine how it dulls the pain receptors! 

So on Saturday evening I’m just looking forward to a nice glass of Shiraz to celebrate the new month and my new running goals.

And if anyone is interested in getting involved in Jantastic, the website can be found at – I believe it’s not too late to sign up, you don’t need to be an elite runner and it’s free!


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Categories: Running

parkrun Perfume Perils

by The Ramblings of a Menopausal Runner, with Hilary Jones Tuesday, January 21 2014

“Typically you’ll have been trying to break a certain time on a certain course for ages and suddenly just when you look the other way not only do you smash straight through your target and out the other side but it didn’t even seem that hard.”

I’d like to say those were my words but I’d be lying. They are the words of Tom Williams, parkrun’s Country Manager published in last week’s newsletter.  Now before you get all excited and think that I did it, beat my parkrun PB, sorry to disappoint, I didn’t.  Apparently though I helped someone else beat theirs!

But even then it’s not a straight forward tale (as if it would be when I’m involved!).  Saturday’s parkrun started off as normal and after about 500m there was me and two other women running in a group (and I was at the back).  Unfortunately one of the said other women had gone a bit mad with the perfume that morning and as nice as it was, I was desperately trying to get out of the perfume haze and breathe in some oxygen (that gas you need more of when you’re exercising).  I think she thought I was trying to overtake but I seriously wasn’t, I just wanted some fresh air and when I moved to one side she moved to the same side so I couldn’t escape.  Actually, on reflection maybe that’s a tactic I should try!

Finally I managed to move past and caught up with the first of our little trio and there it continued for the rest of the race.  I was literally on her heels, the poor woman must have thought I was trying to overtake when the truth was, I was just trying to keep up!  It stayed that way until the last 50m or so when someone put their foot on the gas and took off for the finish line and it wasn’t me (how do people do that!?). 

After the race we had a few (friendly) words and it turned out me being on her heels actually pushed her on harder.  She took over a minute off her previous PB.  Thus if I couldn’t get a new PB myself, at least I had the pleasure of knowing I helped someone else achieve theirs, which I suppose is also in the spirit of parkrun.  And as a consolation prize, my time was the best I’d done in over a month (and no walking).


By the way, today I did my first solo 10k (no walking) run for coming up to two years, with a time of 54’ 55”, which I think must be a top three or four time for me; so I’m “well happy”!  My route took me out through the Activity Park, across the A2/High Speed line (yes, I did use the bridges – I wasn’t playing chicken!), across the fields to Ifield and then back via Jeskyns Park and then a little bit more of the Activity Park.  So I’m now incorporating Plan C, part 5.2iii of my half marathon training plan!  Now that I’ve managed a non walking 10k, my plan is to increase my long run by 1k each week and with 9 weeks to go before Paddock Wood, that should just about get me to where I need to be (she says with fingers and toes crossed).  Yes, I know that still leaves another 2k but I’ll find them from somewhere on the day – preferably from a passing motorist!

PS - Kent parkruns are trying to get 1,000 runners this coming weekend (25/1) so if you've been thinking about registering or are registered but just haven't been for a little while, then get those trainers on and help us achieve this goal!

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Categories: Running

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